Be more social in eight steps

Social networks continue to form an ever greater and increasingly important chunk of the communications sphere. Although businesses in financial services tend to take a more conservative approach to social media compared to our consumer-facing counterparts, it’s a communication channel that can no longer be ignored.

Honner recently attended an informative social media marketing course at Sydney University, hosted by Laurel Papworth – one of the world’s leading social media bloggers. Here are a few key take outs to consider:

1. Rethink terminology 

Not into being ‘social’? Think social media is for selfie-obsessed teenagers? Don’t be fooled by poor terminology. The concept of ‘social media’ is better thought of as ‘stakeholder communication’ or ‘engagement channels’. In other words, social media is an important way of connecting with your key stakeholders, not just a forum for frivolity.

2. Know your audience

Don’t say anything to an untested audience. If you’re thinking of getting involved in social media, get to know the community you want to engage with well so you don’t come bounding into the conversation ill-informed of what’s been said before you. Timing is also of the essence, so being in tune with ‘hot spots’ and the news-cycle is imperative.

3. Know your brand voice/organisational personality

Don’t be afraid to speak to your target market to the exclusion of others. If you try to be too broadly appealing on social media you won’t engage anyone.  Deliver insights that your audience will find valuable – and build a community of followers who connect with you.

4. Be generous with content 

Make your social pages read like a magazine – offer an engaging experience rather than product push. Sure, you can use social media to communicate key business updates, but you also need to share insights that your stakeholders will find useful, pertinent and salient.

5. Create rituals

A great way to generate anticipation and ongoing engagement is through regular posts (e.g. Q&A every Friday) or online community activities (e.g. #spitbucket). A weekly/monthly calendar can be an easy way to manage regular rituals.

6. Think of hashtags as a community

Hashtags should be thought of as a community of people interested in a topic, rather than as buzzwords or clickbait. They can be extremely effective in broadening the reach of posts.

7. It’s about the customer, not the company 

The ‘About’ section on a company social page should focus on the benefits for the customer, not the company’s history.

8. Consider the cost of inaction 

Prefer to abstain from social media? It’s an individual business decision but be very conscious that by not participating, you will be allowing competitors to fill the void. It’s a risk/return decision that should be reached through a thorough, conscious decision making process.

At Honner, we build multi-stakeholder communications programs for our clients that aim to leverage each available channel, including social media, to achieve your business goals.

Honner’s Asian agency partner Ryan Communication opens Shanghai office

Ryan Communication, Asia’s leading independent strategic communication consultancy, has announced the opening of a Shanghai office, the company’s third in the region, to support increasing needs of global companies in China.

The office is headed by senior communication professional and China native, Oscar Wang. He will be responsible for developing and delivering communication strategies on behalf of clients, including financial companies, professional services firms and corporates. Wang will also advise clients on market entry communication, transactions, issues management, stakeholder engagement, media relations and social media activity.

Damien Ryan, Founder and Managing Director of Ryan Communication, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of client mandates for strategic communication support in China, particularly with ongoing market reforms, which is creating additional business opportunities for our clients

Our consultancy is also experiencing strong growth across the region, given our unique position as Asia’s leading independent strategic communication firm, and a Shanghai office is a natural evolution in our exciting story.”

Prior to joining Ryan Communication, Wang was with an international consultancy that specialises in financial and corporate communication. His role included advising international and Chinese financial institutions on communication strategy, positioning, issues management and investor relations for the Greater China region.

Oscar Wang, Head of Shanghai at Ryan Communication, said: “I am excited to join the Ryan team as we embark on the next stage of regional expansion. The team clearly brings a fresh approach to the communication industry in Asia. Ryan Communication is an industry-leader with a growing list of leading international and local clients who value a boutique approach, deep sector expertise, local knowledge and regional reach.” The Shanghai office will partner closely with Ryan Communication’s operations in Hong Kong and Singapore to deliver integrated solutions as a single company, simplifying accounting and resource allocation for global clients.

Ryan Communication, like Honner, is a member of the Global Financial Communication Network (GFC/Net – a prestigious financial and corporate communications agency network bringing together leading independent public relations consultancies in the world’s major financial markets. Through this network we are able to leverage global insights and contacts across the spectrum of financial PR and public policy campaigns.